When Peacemakers Need Our Assistance
LATEST reports about factional fighting in Yugoslavia are not good. Many throughout Europe and the United States are beginning to feel that there's little that can be done to stop conflict that has already taken more than a thousand lives and exhausted the efforts undertaken during nearly a dozen cease-fires. "This is just going to go on and on until it burns itself out, one diplomat has been reported as saying.But can we really accept such feelings of nearly total discouragement? Of course not, and neither will peace efforts come to a halt. There will always be the undeniable desire to bring peace where conflict rages. People may need to look deep within their own spiritual and moral resources in order once again to renew efforts to end fighting--wherever it exists-- but history teaches that the will to find peace and justice can't be destroyed. How ironic it would be after all the changes that have come to Eastern Europe in the last few years, changes leading to new freedoms and greater justice for many people, if people were now to grow discouraged and lose hope. Political and military borders have been opened. Families have been reunited. In many ways, these are the easiest changes. The much more fundamental and far-reaching change that must now take place is an opening of the heart to see our fellowman more clearly as fully a part of the family of God. This opening requires a spiritual understanding of man as the image and likeness of God, the very terms in which the Bible begins. But almost in a parallel way to current changes in the world, this wonderful spiritual ideal of man is immediately followed in the Bible narrative by conflict. The allegorical story of Adam and Eve and their warring children seems to deny the truth of man's real nature as expressing the fullness and goodness of God. When we read the allegory carefully, we see that the source of human conflict is the terrible belief that individuals have different interests and that one person can and will have less than another. The conviction that one can be wronged and be treated unequally stirs resentment and anger. It doesn't require great vision to see that this underlying conviction of injustice isn't limited to people living in Serbia or Croatia. In fact, wherever this feeling is allowed to fester, it would block our deeper understanding of man as God's child and of the fact that God who is infinite Love gives His affection fully and equally. "Official peacemakers throughout the world are struggling not to be overwhelmed by resistance to their sincere efforts; perhaps we also need to become peacemakers. And there is something all of us can do to foster peace in the world right now, wherever we live. First of all, we can work to rid ourselves of any feelings that we ourselves have been victimized by injustice. We can do this by recognizing that nothing can separate us or anyone from the love of God. We need to be as firm in making this spiritual affirmation as we would be firm and courageous in opposing unjust decrees. The more we recognize the unfailing love and power of God in our own lives, the more able we'll be to resist hatred, envy, and the myriad brutalities that take place in the world. This was one of the things that Christ Jesus brought to humanity: a recognition of man's inseparability from God so clear that joy, peace, and love welled up in people who had previously felt themselves to be in hopeless situations. As a result people were reborn to hope, faith, and actual healing. One of the most important steps we each can take when strife happens is not to consent mentally to its supposed claim to self- sustaining forceuntil it burns itself out. If God is good, then there is no permanent law or force which sustains evil. And each man or woman who recognizes this fact becomes a moral and spiritual peacemaker in the world. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and began this newspaper, was asked to write about how strife could be stilled during a period of war between Japan and China. Her reply is reprinted in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany. In part she wrote: "The Principle of all power is God, and God is Love. Whatever brings into human thought or action an element opposed to Love, is never requisite, never a necessity, and is not sanctioned by the law of God, the law of Love. Refe rring to Jesus, she went on to say, "The Founder of Christianity said: 'My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.' The peace that Christ, Truth, gives is not derived from the changeable and unstable views of people caught up in war. Rather, it is the peace that comes as men and women recognize that God is their Father and the giver of all that is good and right. No person, political party, human conventions, or past history can deny an individual his God-given peace and love. This is certainly a time for prayer. And prayer will bring peace as man's birthright as the spiritual child of God is more clearly recognized. If current conflict in Yugoslavia--or in other places in the world--causes each of us to strive for the government of God in our lives, then the efforts of peacemakers--official ones as well as ourselves--will be successful.
BIBLE VERSE Blessed are the peacemakers. Matthew 5:9